How to Rent Office Furniture

Three Parts:Weighing Your Needs and OptionsMaximizing Your Rental ExperienceComparing Renting to Buying

Whether you’re starting a new business and need to outfit an office from scratch or you just want to upgrade the tired old furniture in your current office, deciding whether to rent or buy office furniture can be tough. Each option has advantages and disadvantages that are particular to each business’ situation. Nonetheless, when all of the pros and cons of buying and renting are explained, the right decision for you should be clear.

Part 1
Weighing Your Needs and Options

  1. 1
    Think about how long you'll need the furniture. Most furniture rental companies charge much more for short term rentals (less than 30 days) than long term rentals. If you can figure out how to get use out of rented furniture for longer than a month, you'll save a great deal of money.[1]
  2. 2
    Factor in the amount of time you have to make a decision. Many furniture rental companies have their entire selection listed on their websites, but some only show representative models and not the exact kind of piece you'd be receiving. When that's the case, you'll actually have to go to the showroom to pick out the exact piece of furniture you'd like to get.[2]
    • An online rental will usually consist of picking out what you'd like online and calling your order in. You should expect to provide the typical information, like address, phone number, and credit card information.
  3. 3
    Consider the quality and style. Like a lot of businesses, different furniture rental companies cater to different price points and style sensibilities. If you need to go for higher end furniture, look at companies like CORT and American Furniture Rentals. If you need something more economical, Rent-a-Center is a good option.[3]
    • If you need furniture for a specific event, like a convention or a reception, it's a good idea to search exactly for that type of furniture rental company. Chic Event Furniture is a good example of an event supplier.
    • The identity of your business goes a long way toward determining the quality and style of the furniture you'll need to rent. Don't go in for anything that will clash from the existing image.
  4. 4
    Ask around. Tap your connections in the community of local business owners to see if there are any local furniture rental places that stand out or come highly recommended. Be sure to ask if there are any companies or promotions to avoid, as well.

Part 2
Maximizing Your Rental Experience

  1. 1
    Know what you're signing up for. Basically, you need to read the fine print. Be sure to look through the entire lease agreement, ask questions, and do your best to negotiate the best deal.
  2. 2
    Look for a lease allowing you to add and subtract pieces as needed. Depending on your creditworthiness and the furniture dealer, you might be able to secure a lease allowing you to add and subtract pieces as needed.[4]
    • These kinds of deals sometimes add a surcharge the month you subtract the piece, and charge an additional amount to your monthly payment when you add a piece.
  3. 3
    Watch out for damage waivers. Depending on your insurance coverage, a damage waiver can be a perk or a needless charge. That’s because some insurance policies will cover certain types of damage even to a piece of leased furniture.[5]
    • The best way to find out what’s covered and what isn’t is to call your insurer. Be sure to call the insurer before you sit down with the furniture dealer, so you aren’t pressured into accepting coverage you don’t need.
  4. 4
    Don’t forget about delivery, set-up, and pick up costs. Many furniture rental companies will try to get you to add the charge for delivery, set-up, and pick-up to the lease itself. While this might be right for you, not taking it into account can really distort the actual cost of the lease.[6]
    • Remember, you’re going to be paying interest on everything that’s included in the lease. So the $500 charge for delivery, set-up, and pick-up can cost you far more than the sticker price.
    • Deposits are another way the cost of furniture rental can be disguised. The deposit amount will vary based on the amount of furniture you rent, but even for one piece of furniture, it could range from $100 to $1000.
  5. 5
    Beware of a lease period that’s too long. Generally, the longer the lease period, the more you’ll end up paying. Furniture companies typically offer leases anywhere from three to sixty months, so this cost of an extended lease can really add up.[7]
    • For example, that same $10,000 in financed furniture will end up costing more over the life of a sixty month lease versus a lease for thirty-six months, even if the monthly payments are more than a third less.
    • So $10,000 financed over sixty months at a $200 per month payment ends up costing about $700 more than the same $10,000 financed for thirty-six months at $300.[8]

Part 3
Comparing Renting to Buying

  1. 1
    Consider your cash flow. While purchasing office furniture outright is usually cheaper than leasing it, it comes with a large up-front cost. If cash flow is an issue for your business, leasing could be the smarter option for you.[9]
    • For instance, if you financed $10,000 worth of furniture for 36 months at 11.24% interest, you’d end up paying $1,124 more than you would have if you’d purchased the furniture outright (which doesn’t even take into account what you might recoup by reselling your furniture). Nonetheless, if you think you can make more than $1,124 over the next three years with a $10,000 investment today, it would be the smarter option to lease the furniture.
  2. 2
    Take the business’ identity into account. Some businesses need to project a modern, cutting edge image more than others. A business like this might find it far more cost effective to lease furniture for a few years at a time than to buy and resell an office full of furniture whenever a new trend comes around.[10]
    • For example, a restaurant or a software company might have a much bigger interest in projecting an image of modernity than a plumbing company.
  3. 3
    Look at the tax advantages of each option. There are tax advantages that come with buying and leasing, but some advantages are more valuable to some companies than others.[11]
    • For example, many small businesses can deduct up to $500,000 toward the cost of new furniture for the year they bought it (even if they bought it with their own line of credit). Lease payments are also deductible, but since lease payments for a year will typically be less than the whole cost of the lease, there’s a smaller total deduction. If your business is making a lot of money the year to purchase the furniture, buying might put you in a more advantageous position.
  4. 4
    Think about seasonal employees. Some businesses hire a large amount of seasonal staff. For businesses like these, a short term lease of office furniture will probably be a more cost effective approach than buying furniture.[12]
    • A tax-preparation company, for example, will hire a lot of temporary office help. If they purchased furniture rather than leased it, they would have to find a place to store it during the year. Plus, purchasing doesn’t account for year on year growth or shrinkage.
  5. 5
    Weigh the asset of owned furniture against the liability of a lease. One important difference between leasing and purchasing office furniture is the impact is has on a company’s overall balance sheet. Owned furniture is always an asset, while leased furniture is a liability.[13]
    • For example, if you were planning on applying for a new line of credit or other type of loan, you might want to make your assets appear to be as numerous as possible, which could improve your chances of approval for the loan.
  6. 6
    Consider rent-to-own. Ask the company what their options are for rent-to-own pieces of furniture. Sometimes renting-to-own can be a good deal, just make sure you aren't paying the extra price premium of leasing while getting a set of used furniture for your trouble. If you're that intent on buying, it might just be a better option to finance a purchase instead.

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Categories: Furniture and Cabinets